I Am Her: Maureen Abenoja On Living A Bright Life | Clozette

Our “I Am Her” series features the female movers and shakers of the industry to learn how femininity and power coincide beautifully and seamlessly together.

When we see or hear of people who have done heaps in their industry and have been able to lead projects and people towards big goals, one of the many questions that come to mind is "How does she do it?" It is often said that how you think about yourself and your life affects what actually transpires in your daily living. It can sound like a cliche and some may even dub it a sham. But Maureen Abenoja, Marketing Director for Consumer Beauty in Southeast Asia of Coty and Marketing Head of Max Factor Southeast Asia, is a testament to this ideal's truth. "You can't be bitter and expect your life to be sweet," she says about the best piece of advice she's been given. And since then she's been walking the talk.

Ahead, find out how this Filipina stays on top of her game, how a makeover started it all and what inspires her.

A woman smiling

Fill in the blank: I am a woman, a marketer and ___________.

An advocate of everything positive and beautiful.

What’s the best thing about working in beauty? What’s the most challenging?

I was already in my 20s when I had my first beauty makeover, which happened only when I entered the beauty industry. I can still remember how amazing it felt to face the mirror after the makeover — it was then that I realised that it was actually possible for me to look that beautiful! It was truly life-changing for me because for the first time, I saw myself as beautiful. That first makeover experience was so incredible for me that wanting women to experience the same thing is what has kept me inspired in this field for 14 years now. I think that the ability to open women’s eyes to the possibility of being their best versions of themselves is the best thing about working in the beauty industry.

The most challenging part about working in beauty is continuing to gain market share in this very competitive and dynamic landscape. We all know that beauty is a growing business globally, which is also why we have more and more competitors coming in, making it tougher for brands to gain a share of space in stores, a share of voice online, and share of love in consumers’ hearts. This makes it, however, more fun as this pushes marketers like me to be more creative and resourceful.

A woman drinking champagne in a veranda

What inspires you?

Seeing women juggling multiple roles — mother, wife, entrepreneur, sports enthusiast, art lover, foodie, traveller, wine connoisseur, etcetera — and excelling in all these roles while still always looking their best is what inspires me. They set the benchmark quite high and motivate me to strive to be the best version of myself every day.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Life is not perfect, but if we focus on the sad or difficult moments and become bitter about them, then we lose our chance of ever making it sweet again. Focus on the bright side, always be grateful, and make the most out of every circumstance; don’t give bitterness a chance to even exist. This is my key to being a happy person all the time.

A woman going up the stairs

You’re the definition of looking good while doing what you do. How do you stay inspired and empowered to make that happen every day?

It all comes down to doing what I love! Being in beauty is not just a job for me, but something very personal— I am here to share with women that it is possible to always be the best versions of ourselves whatever role we play. Thus, work and play become indistinguishable; I live and breathe beauty — I live and breathe Max Factor.

Share your five Clozette essentials.

First, an anti-ageing cream and sun protection. Good makeup applied on bad skin is useless, so we should always take care of our skin. Next, Bose speakers. Music is very important to me, so I cannot live without good speakers. Even during days that I go for a no-makeup look contouring is a must for me, so I need my contouring palette. And lastly, a Cinderella hair treatment. It's an amazing treatment that I get from a Korean salon every two to three months; it softens and tames my naturally curly hair without damaging it or making it look stick-straight.

What’s next for you and Max Factor in Southeast Asia?

We have just launched Max Factor in Singapore in November 2017, and we are in the midst of expanding the brand as fast as we can in Southeast Asia. We are launching it in Malaysia this October and in Thailand this November, and doing a relaunch using the new You X Max Factor global campaign as a platform in the Philippines this October. Exciting times ahead!

Discover more women to be inspired by here.



Let's cap off the week with hot stuff. From sneak peeks to new releases, here are the latest happenings in the worlds of fashion and beauty.

Hedi Slimane for Celine on Lady Gaga

It's been months since Hedi Slimane was announced as Celine's new creative director, and many have been waiting for what he would do for the brand. Well, we've finally been given the first look at his first bag for the brand and courtesy of Lady Gaga at that. 


The front and back of a packet of an intimate care mask

It's time you take a little bit more care of your friend down there. Cynthia Chua, founder of Spa Esprit Group, has just launched TWO L(I)PS, a luxury skincare line especially for the woman's most intimate area. Start your journey to caring more for your vulva with the help of their Blackout Mask, which is formulated with activated charcoal, white licorice, cornflower, edelberry, chamomile, ylang-ylang and aloe vera.

Can you guess?

Fenty Beauty teased an upcoming product in one of their recent Instagram posts but we can't really tell what it is. The photo features Rihanna, the brand's creator, in a costume for her hometown Barbados's Crop Over Festival. Are they launching nail polish or a new eyeshadow palette? What do you think?

The name's Barker. Benjamin Barker.

Inspired by the impeccable style of men who attend spring races, Benjamin Barker has released a collection called “To The Spring Races.” The collection has tailored suits and jackets in a palette of blue, muted greens and whites — perfect for the man in your life. Plus, they have just released their first women’s collection that’s perfect for you, too.


Korean superstars BTS have collaborated with PUMA on a new shoe style. Meet the special edition silhouette of the Basket. 

Leaders in the Philippines

Leaders Cosmetics is now in the Philippines! Get a hold of their effective, one-of-a-kind mask sheets at Watsons, the SM Store and CNA. Plus, say hello to their ambassador, Yang Se Jong! 

(Cover photo from: @ladygaga)

Check out what happened earlier this week here



As skincare junkies, it's no secret that we love masks. Aside from their skin-enhancing properties, we just adore the relaxing and soothing feeling that comes with using them. The most popular ones are clay and sheet types, but lately, there have been new, intriguing forms of masks that have piqued our interest. One is Herbivore's Blue Tansy (SGD72/~USD52.62), which is a resurfacing clarity mask. It's a vegan skincare product with a concentrated blend of natural ingredients that can clarify acne-prone skin.

The buzz around this product may not be as big as that of products dubbed as holy grails but it's still a unique and interesting skincare item that some skincare aficionados have been raving about. So I decided to try it out and see for myself. Here's what I think about it. 

Packaging, texture and scent

Herbivore's Blue Tansy comes in an elegant, minimalist glass jar packaging. The blue formula pops against the simple design, making it very photogenic. It can feel a bit heavy but I can say that it's still travel-friendly as long as you store it correctly. There's a scoop that comes with the product so you can have a more hygienic, mess-free application.

An opened jar of liquid mask with the blue formula spread on the forearm

In terms of texture, it's a bit syrupy but it's not entirely viscous; there's also a watery element to it. Nevertheless, it feels lightweight and smooth upon application. As for the scent, it's got a very strong herbal-minty smell that can put off some people, but I still find it tolerable.


As mentioned earlier, it uses only natural ingredients with no fillers. Which means it doesn't use any dyes or fragrances in its formula. Some of the notable ingredients are blue tansy essential oil, white willow bark and fruit enzymes, which are basically AHA and BHA. They're responsible for the brightening effect that you experience whenever you use resurfacing products. 


The application can be a little tricky with the Blue Tansy. Since the product is both watery and syrupy at the same time, it can easily spill on your lap or table while you're applying it to your face. Spreading it evenly can also be a challenge. I recommend asking a friend to apply it to your face while you lie down and relax. This is the easiest and most mess-free method of application if you ask me.

A woman with her face covered in blue liquid, and an opened jar of mask with a spatula stuck on it

As you can see, Blue Tansy's texture is quite tricky to work with

Upon application, there's an instant cooling effect on the skin. After a few minutes, I felt a slight tingling, warm sensation but I wasn't too alarmed because it's totally normal for AHA/BHA-infused products. However, just a word of caution, when trying a new skincare product and you feel like your skin is burning you should wash it off right away as you may be sensitive to it. It's best to do a patch test first so you can see if it's compatible with your skin. 


It's recommended to use this every other day for the first five days and then you can switch to using it two to three times per week to maintain results. I've only been using this for two weeks and while the results are not drastic, there's still visible improvements like smoother skin especially in my chin area. Within the first use, I was already able to see a slight improvement in my skin's texture. 

An opened jar of skincare

After the initial five days, I saw that some acne marks were already fading. With this product, it's a slow but sure process. You can't expect instant results but you can expect progress if you are diligent with applying Blue Tansy. After all, consistency is the name of the game when it comes to skincare.

So is Blue Tansy the next holy grail? I'd say yes because it fulfils two important criteria of modern skincare junkies. It delivers on its promises and comes in a packaging that looks like it's made for Instagram. Talk about beauty and functionality!

Read more of our skincare and makeup reviews here.